Motorola opens Montreal software centre

Motorola Inc.’s new Montreal Software Development Centre, which opened on Tuesday, will inject an estimated $300 million dollars into the Montreal economy, company officials said.

The $100 million dollar multimedia software lab, which is located within the Cite Multimedia technology complex in downtown Montreal, will develop software for wireless communications.

Specifically, the facility will develop next generation wireless infrastructure – two-way radio, wireless simulation, and modeling software along with vertical applications for cellular, network management and system automation, said Frank Maw, president for Motorola Canada Ltd. in Toronto.

Maw said Montreal was selected due to its pool of knowledge and support with local IT-specialized universities, government tax incentives and the high tech infrastructure already in place. Industry shift from analogue to digital wireless has driven Motorola’s focus on software R&D, he noted.

“We have very much changed over from being a manufacturer-focused organization into a software R&D company,” Maw said, adding that 800 of its 1,200 Canadian employees are devoted to software development.

“Motorola is streamlining in other areas of operations but we actually see the growth in both the number of R&D facilities and in the head count of each and every one of them continuing to increase. The cooperation from both province of Quebec and the city of Montreal were very positive and a big factor in our decision,” Maw said.

Cite Multimedia is a technological hub in downtown Montreal that attracts multimedia, telecom, e-commerce, and software companies working in the IT industry, said Cite Multimedia spokesperson Isabelle Giasson.

Companies involved in the project are entitled to provincial tax incentives designed to stimulate tech growth and development within Quebec, Giasson said, adding that Motorola’s presence at Cite Multimedia will benefit both large and small companies within the complex.

“It’s interesting for a large company such as Motorola to move in Cite Multimedia to benefit from the visibility the project here will be giving them in the near future.”

Manufacturing companies like Motorola have recognized that the software component of wireless communications plays a huge role in determining what kind of functionality companies can deliver across networks, said Mark Quigley, director of research at the Toronto-based Yankee Group.

Quigley noted that, for Motorola, added functionality ultimately increases the average revenue per user.

“We are moving toward an era where voice becomes not the only thing that’s riding over the network – it becomes more data-intensive in terms of the services and applications that get offered,” Quigley said.

“The ability to help facilitate the introduction of new services that do leverage some of those data capabilities does become important.”

Motorola Canada Ltd. in Toronto is at http://www.motorola.com.